Although most people associate sexual harassment laws with protecting employees from enduring sexual advances or comments, the reality is that harassment does not need to involve sexual conduct in any way in order to be considered sexual harassment.
While it is true that sexual advancements, comments and gestures are considered sexual harassment, EEOC Guidelines also suggest that it is against the law to harass someone based upon his or her sex. For example, if a man and a woman both hold the same position within a company, and the supervisor gives demeaning and sexually-biased job assignments to the woman and not to the man, it can be considered sexual harassment.
It is important to note that sexual harassment does not have to be performed by a supervisor; however, it is also possible for co-workers or even non-employees to be responsible for creating a hostile work environment. Similarly, it is possible for a supervisor to be sexually harassed by his or her subordinate.
Although the First Amendment does protect our right to free speech, the Constitution does not give others the right to make you feel intimidated or otherwise uncomfortable in the workplace. Therefore, if you are the victim of workplace harassment, you should contact an employment lawyer to assist you with putting an end to the problem.
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